slice of my life

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sad Thanksgiving

I am writing my sad family news. My uncle died on Friday in Memphis.

Back in 1980, my mom gave this uncle----her brother----her kidney. It's remarkable, but he has had great health for all these years. Since last month, though, this transplanted kidney has shut down. He has been in and out of the hospital since then, and on dialasis, and my Mom and her sister (in Michigan) have been going back and forth to Memphis. He has been been unable to drive himself, and with no wife or any children, it has fallen on his sisters and friends to take care of him. Mom was talking to Uncle John about re-locating to Granbury (where he had lived before) so he had family to take care of him. He was agreeable.

Wednesday he had surgery, and after thinking he had a blood clot in his abdomen for this month, they decided it was a tumor. Being a transplant recipient, this is not too uncommon, even treatable with radiation and chemo. So Mom called me with this news Thursday morning as I was making my house ready for Larry's family for that Thanksgiving meal. We drove to my parents' Thursday night, and we were having Thanksgiving 2 for Friday lunch.

Early Friday morning, Mom got a call and was told Uncle John was doing badly there at the hospital. He was bleeding somewhere and they didn't know what was going on. Something was bad enough that they had to put tubes down his throat, and Mom got a plane ticket Friday morning to Memphis. Dad had to drive her to the airport (1.5 hours each way), and with the turkey already cooked, my sister and I finished out Thanksgiving dinner for our families for lunch. No Mom, no Dad, boo-hoo. (But my brother-in-law declared I had done well on the dressing, the best ever from my family, he said! not too dry!) Mom arrived in Memphis, and about 5pm or so, we got a call that they had recessitated (spelling?) my uncle, and Mom put a DNR on him. She is a nurse, and could tell after they shocked him back to life that he would never be the same again. We went on with my Dad and all the kids to the Granbury lighted Christmas parade----life goes on, doesn't it? My kids and my niece and nephew are just kids and the fun must go on. Or not? I guess I just stuck to the plan we had made a week ago, with no use in wringing our hands here, two states away. At about 9:20p we got THE call------Uncle John had died about 6:30p. We had been shuttling the kids to the car for the parade, and my Uncle was leaving this world!

Dad is now making arrangements for travel to Memphis, and my Aunt is making her way down South, too. My Mom has her in-laws, my Dad's parents, to stay with while she's there. I'd almost rather be no place else than at Granny's house in times of crisis, so Mom is in good hands.

I paused there to figure out what else to say. I have gone on too long, I guess. I just need a few prayers, a few kind thoughts going my way. A little sympathy for my Thanksgiving weekend gone wrong. I am up by myself: I had falen asleep about 10, but I'm up again. I couldn't sleep until I had purged my brain of all this. I think I ought to go to Memphis, and I think I shouldn't. I wonder what I could have done, should have said, should have written to my Uncle while he was still here.

I think about how it's been a bad year for death in this family-----Great-Aunt Sally (who Uncle John took care of and lived with until her end in March, at age 94), and Larry's 47-year-old brother on April 1st. If I had gone to Memphis for Aunt Sally's funeral (I almost did), I would have been away when Rusty died! I keep thinking about this one picure of me and Uncle John, when I was about 5, sitting in the back yard on the ground in front of the bar-be-cue pit when we still lived in Memphis. Dad is grilling in the background, and Uncle John had his arms around me in a hug, and we're both grinning. I also think about another bad Friday-after-Thanksgiving when I was miscarrying. I'm too awake for this time of night, and the thoughts rush in. I am going to read my novel---At Home in Mitford---to quiet my mind, take me to a gentle place. Maybe then I can sleep!


  • Oh Jenny! I'm so sorry. What does one say in a situation like this but "Bless your heart!" My heart is broken for you, Jenny. I'm so sorry your Thanksgiving sucked!!

    I bought an excellent book this summer, "Streams in the Desert" by L. B. Cowman. Here are a few thoughts on sorrow:

    "Sorrow reveals unknown depths of the soul. It is God's tool to plow the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests.

    We should never forget that redemption, the world's greatest blessing, is the fruit of the world's greatest sorrow. And whenever a time of deep pruning comes and the knife cuts deeply and the pain is severe, what an inexpressible comfort it is to know that 'My Father is the gardener.'

    There is rich symbolism in the pruning process when applied to the Christian life. Pruning seems to be destroying the vine, and the gardener appears to be cutting everything away. Yet he see the future and knows that the final result will be the enrichment of the life of the vine, and a greater abundance of fruit."

    Hang on to that precious image of you and Uncle John ... grinning. I know he's grinning now and is anxiously awaiting the time when he can wrap his arm around you again!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, November 26, 2006 9:23:00 AM  

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